I love reading.
I love reading books.
I love reading ‘real’ books: the ones that you can hold in your hands, with pages.
Reading is definitely one of my favourite things.
I’ve read a lot this year. At the start I was mainly reading eBooks and blog posts. This was all good. There are some really insightful bloggers and eBooks out there. I felt inspired and learned much.
Recently though I’ve been fortunate enough to have some time off work. During that time I rediscovered my love for reading good old-fashioned books: the ones that you can mark where you’re up to by dog-earing a page, the ones that you can carry in your back-pack.
In that rediscovery I also reignited my love for fiction.
Up to this point I’d been focussing mainly on reading books about simplicity and spirituality, and hadn’t given much thought to fiction. I’d forgotten how wonderful reading a good story can be.
Fiction transports you to another world and fires the imagination. You get lost in the story. You can’t wait to turn the page and find out what happens next. It’s magical.
Reading can be expensive
Having rediscovered a veracious appetite for reading there was one small problem: cost. New books are expensive and given my drive to become debt-free, unaffordable.
The re-sale value of books on eBay is negligible. Very few second-hand books sell (in my experience). So it’s not even as if you can read them and then get some money back, through selling them.
Reading can be an expensive pastime.
Of course there’s always the library although I really dislike the feeling of having to read a book within a specified period of time i.e. having to return it by a certain date.
So what to do?
How de-cluttering provided the answer
In the process of de-cluttering I found a large quantity of books that I no longer wanted. I’d read them once and they were simply taking up space in the flat, gathering dust, never to be opened again.
eBay wasn’t the answer (I tried but they didn’t sell), so they ended up in the ‘donate’ pile.
As a side I do still have a modest library of books that I’m really into, that I go back to, either to use as reference material or simply because they provide me with inspiration. Most books though are read once and never opened again.
So the books I don’t want any more go to the local Charity Shop.
Charity Shops are great places to rummage for second-hand clothes, records and books. Most seem to have relatively large book sections. I guess because when people have a clear out, books are the one thing that they’re happy to let go of.
Whilst rummaging in a Charity Shop one day I decided to buy a few books. They cost £2 (or less) each, so it wasn’t going to break the bank. Happy with my purchase I headed home.
De-cluttering is a wonderful thing to do. My ‘golden rule’ though states: don’t bring more back into the house than you’re getting rid of.
So these books, once read, had to go. If I did decide to keep any of them, for the reasons outlined above, then something else (other books, or CDs, or DVDs etc.) would have to go. Let’s stick with the books though. In this instance I bought them for a few £s, read them and then had to decide how to get rid of them again: sell or donate. Selling was not an option so that just left donate.
Donate: back to the Charity Shop I bought them from.
Although I live a simple life, am de-cluttering and am paying down my consumer debts, I still try to give. This is really important to me because whatever my current circumstances I know I am much better off than many in the world. I therefore donate, what I can, to charity on a regular basis.
Light bulb moment.
If I buy books from the local Charity Shops I am donating (money). If I then return them to the same Charity Shops as a physical donation once I’m through reading them then they (the Charity Shops) benefit twice because they can re-sell them. A win/win situation!
It’s funny, I had viewed Charity Shops as a place to go to try and find bargains that could then be sold on eBay for a profit. This hadn’t proved very successful, as most Charity Shops have access to the internet and can therefore price items accordingly and why wouldn’t they? They are of course trying to maximise the amount of money that they make for their particular cause.
It felt liberating to view them in a different light, one where we both could benefit.
Of course the Charity Shops won’t always have that latest best-seller that you’re after but they do hold lots of really good books: fiction and non-fiction. And there’s a real beauty in the randomness of not knowing what you’ll find and therefore what you’ll read next.
If there is a specific book that I’m after then I purchase it second-hand on Amazon, where often the book is priced at £0.01. I simply have to cover the postage. Again once finished these books can also be donated.
It’s like a library where you rent the books, for minimal cost, and by returning them you give the Charity Shop an opportunity to make more money.
And, if there are any particular books that I really like or I want to keep for a while then I can.
It’s a great way to enjoy reading whilst giving to a good cause at the same time.